|dc.description.abstract||The human tragedy of migration has become a regular feature of those southern European
countries with accessible coastlines (Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus), inhospitable
illegal border crossings (Italy and Greece) or even borders set with landmines
(Greece/Turkey). The number of deaths by drowning, freezing and explosion can only be
crudely guessed, but it is the dramatic arrival of shiploads of starving emigrants which most
captures the public attention – frequently with a humane and compassionate response.
Public policy, however, does not generally approach such matters in other than legalistic
formulations; the typical initial state response has been to characterise the migrants as
“illegal”, then later to concede that some might be candidates for political asylum. This status,
in southern Europe, is anyway scarcely better than illegal immigrant (Black, 1992; Malheiros
and Black, 1997).
In this paper, I hope to convey an impression of the massively complex, rapidly changing and
frequently misunderstood nature of the international migration to southern Europe; its
relationship with the economy and society; and the role of the state in managing the
phenomenon. I conclude with a short appraisal of policy, along with some personal thoughts
on how progress might be made.